Media Coverage

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Discussing the WCM Landscape with Industry Veterans

February 16, 2018

[Following are excerpts. Read the full article by clicking on the link above.]

By Venus Tamturk

Although a Web Content Management System (WCM) may not sound like your everyday go-to platform, it actually somehow is. As WCM platforms are the gravitational center of digital ecosystems and experiences, all the digital content we consume or create on the web is powered by these platforms. As basic as their functionality sounds, their impact on our digital experiences is tremendous. Since today’s tech-savvy consumers’ expectations are ever increasing, the competition for catering to their needs and capturing their attention has never been more fierce. With this reality in mind, content management technology providers have been aggressively and rapidly amplifying their platforms in order to create excellence in businesses and end-users’ digital experiences.

Now that we are already nearly two months into 2018, I reached out to a handful of significant thought leaders in the space to understand the subtle and significant trends that shaped the WCM landscape during the past year, find out what has changed in the WCM vendors’ agenda since last year as well as trends and challenges that content creators will face throughout 2018.

Understanding where the WCM space is heading requires a concise look at what has shaped the technology landscape during the past year. With that in mind, I asked the interviewees about the trends that we have seen the most over the year. 

The Omnichannel Revolution

To get the story behind the story, I inquired with Kentico’s CEO Petr Palas about what is driving the wide adoption of microservices and a headless approach, and he splendidly explained: “First of all, we should consider discontinuing use of the WCM acronym since the industry has changed. Content is no longer just about the web. It’s about much more. Last year we saw a dramatic growth of emerging channels – chatbots, digital assistants, AR, VR, IoT, etc. This is the very beginning of the omnichannel revolution that is coming to the whole CMS industry. This requires a major shift in how we think about content creation and delivery. On the technology side, we can already see the shift towards headless, microservices and cloud but that is just the leading edge of a much bigger change coming to our industry.”

I loved the phrase he used; “the omnichannel revolution” and agree that the shift from a traditional, monolithic architecture to cloud-first, based on containers and microservices has simply been driven by today’s uber-connected consumers’ expectations of having a consistent and relevant experience across all digital touchpoints.

At the end of the day, I really do not think consumers are becoming loyal to brands, as they are becoming loyal to the experience that a brand provides them. Being not only a personal belonging but also a doorway to a vast world makes mobile devices a unique channel in terms of building a one-to-one relationship. However, the game of capturing attention is even tougher in this arena as we all scroll endlessly through social media newsfeeds or lists of Google search results. Once managed to capture the consumer attention, then brands have a chance to either make a splash or mar their business as they have a pretty narrow window in which to further engage with them. That’s why it is important to have a future-proof technology with an easy usability that can power the content with a clean and aesthetic layout.

Petr Palas of Kentico also added that providing consistent and highly personalized omnichannel experiences will remain the biggest goal of digital businesses: “The biggest trend we will see in the upcoming years is how to provide consistent and highly personalized omnichannel experiences. It’s no longer just about web and mobile – marketers need to get ready for chatbots, digital assistants, AR, VR, IoT and other emerging channels. The problem is most marketers and content creators today work in silos and they’re limited by disconnected tools they use to manage and deliver content. That leads to content friction that causes internal inefficiencies and an inconsistent customer experience across channels. We need a new generation of CMS that is designed as omnichannel from the very beginning – which is what we did with Kentico Cloud.”

Challenges of Content Creators in 2018

Lastly, I discussed the challenges that content creators will face this year. Petr Palas of Kentico said: “On the strategic side, content creators need to start shifting their mindset from how to manage a few traditional channels to how to manage content for the new multichannel world. This is a paradigm shift and the ones who start early will reap the biggest benefits from opening new communication channels with their customers.”  

Palas was not the only leader who sees a shift in the content creation process as Joel Varty pointed out yet another shift: “The world is becoming more and more technology-driven, and yet at the same time we are seeing a shift in demand for simpler and more streamlined experiences. It turns out that simpler is actually harder – it means you have to say no to a whole lot of stuff and yes to only the very best and most relevant. This started with the “mobile first” trend a few years back, and it’s still percolating throughout the industry. How do we streamline and consolidate the best and most relevant content into simpler and more personalized experiences? The folks who can consistently deliver on that promise will have success in 2018.”

My POV

In my view, the last year’s hottest topics were a headless CMS approach and the GDPR impact. This year, the discussions around the understanding of the GDPR requirements will be replaced with the topic of how to comply with the GDPR without having to rule out personalization. Similarly, the hype about headless CMS will settle down as the main focus will shift from what a headless approach means to where it is appropriate to utilize.

The ongoing trends such as delivering personalized omnichannel experiences across devices including conversational systems and virtual reality will continue to sit in the center of content strategies throughout this year.

The demand for best-of-breed solutions that support digital experiences in diverse use cases, such as the IoT, conversational interfaces, or embedded commerce will grow. However, to be able to speak to both best-of-breed seekers and single-vendor solution buyers, WCM vendors will amplify their native capabilities in emerging areas such as e-commerce and contextual marketing features, while providing solutions which can seamlessly integrate with different sets of third-party technologies in order to give their users ultimate flexibility.

Given the unprecedented growth of the open source platforms like Drupal, Magneto, and WordPress in their inclusion to the content creation process, what we see as “newish” this year is platform collaboration and openness. As I previously cited in the story between New York magazine and Slate as an example of rival collaboration in an article entitled “What Can CMS Providers Learn From Media Companies?”, when businesses are confident in their capabilities, a strategic collaboration with competitors often results in a win-win situation. This year, we will see this relationship happening either through open-source platforms or platform integrations.

There is one thing that is certain, 2018 will be a busier and yet more exciting year than ever for all WCM vendors as they will keep innovating, acquiring, and teaming up to make their platforms more modular, smarter, granular and atomic.

VENUS TAMTURK

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

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Digital Assistants: Be Where Your Customers are Today

February 05, 2018

By Wayne Jasek
Director of APAC

As technology advances, people don't just consume digital contebnt; they want to experience it, touch it, and integrate it into their lives. So if your start-up can't offer them an almost intangible experience where your content is present and easily accessible on the devices consumers frequently usae, you might as well close the shop and go home.

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Using Case Studies to Grow Business Awareness

January 15, 2018

Any small business in Australia who is seeking to grow their market share knows that you can attract more customers either by telling everyone you’re the best or prove it with a winning case study. And a well-crafted case study positions you as an authority in your field. Not only do you perform when you say you’re going to perform, but you have the proof, statistics, and facts to support your actions.

But what makes a winning case study? It should represent the types of customers you hope to attract. For instance, a marketing company that wants to gather more banking clients should choose to write a case study about a bank. Writing about a similar field and company that you hope to attract shows that you’re comfortable performing for those types of companies. You know the industry’s obstacles and needs, and you know how to give stellar results. Your job is to showcase those results with your case study.

The most effective case studies are also those that tell an engaging story. For example, Bank A started out in a city saturated with other banks. However, the owner had a vision and persisted, and today the bank is one of the most successful in the area. That’s a true underdog story that people can relate to, and a story like that will be mighty attractive to other bank owners just starting out, and who want the same impressive results.

To tell the story effectively, focus on the customer and what makes them unique. Then analyse the customer’s goals and needs, as well as obstacles and weaknesses, before delving into how your company satisfied those needs and helped to overcome those obstacles to achieve success. To do this effectively, break your study into sections like: background, goals, challenges, the solution you offered and project results.

A powerful case study includes facts, figures, numbers, and statistics. You want your case study to be ultra-clear and accurate. Show how you got the figures and cite your sources wherever possible to enhance your credibility.

When showing an image or graph, use arrows and text boxes to indicate what readers should be looking at and why. Make your case study even more interesting by including anecdotes, such as “They changed the opt-in offer from a newsletter to an eBook and that one change led to a 375% increase in web traffic!”

Describing the results you were able to achieve for the customer is good, but it’s better to explain how those results were generated. What did your company do specifically that’s different from all the competition that allowed the client to benefit in such grand fashion? Those are the details that will make your case studies memorable, and effective at earning new business.

Never forget that a client’s own words are especially effective at establishing independent third-party credibility. In the context of your case study, you might include a quote that speaks of the client’s pain points at the beginning of the project, and then another at the end that speaks of the client’s gratification around the solution you offered.

A properly developed case study can greatly enhance the new business lead generation activities of most small businesses. The material helps to demonstrate your businesses capabilities and industry expertise and show what results are possible through collaboration. Or, put more simply, case studies are especially effective as you won’t have to tell prospects you’re the best, because you’ll have a case study that proves it.

Wayne Jasek, Director-APAC, Kentico.

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Hotels and Customer Data: A Right to be Forgotten

January 10, 2018

By WayneJasek

The amount of personal data collected by businesses, including Australian Hoteliers, is astounding.

Just think about your own smartphone usage; when signing-up for an app like Uber, you might use your Facebook login for ease, which means has Uber access information such as contact details, friends, location and more.

In return, Facebook can access details on a customer’s travel patterns. However, with the implantation of restrictive data protection laws such as the EU’s GDPR rules, and updates to the Australian government’s own Privacy Act 1988, this kind of unchecked spread of consumer is set to change and offer people a right to be forgotten.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is an acronym for General Data Protection Regulation. It is an EU regulation that will come into effect on May 25, 2018 and generate the biggest changes in data protection in the EU since 1995. GDPR was created to bring as much uniformity into data protection as possible and is a regulation far better suited to the challenges today’s digital world poses.

In many cases GDPR will apply to businesses, including local accommodation providers, not actually based in the EU as well. For example, even if you are operating an upscale eco-lodge resort based out of Queensland, but are monitoring the behaviour of guests that takes place within the EU, such as booking trends out of France, you must comply with the requirements of GDPR. It even applies to website visits from users that are in the EU, regardless of whether they are EU citizens or not.

What is a right to be forgotten?

New data protection laws, such as GDPR, pose significant challenges for local hoteliers as they include provisions around a guest’s ‘right to be forgotten’. In practical terms, a right to be forgotten means that any person your hotel holds information on (be that an email address for a newsletter, or customer details for a loyalty / rewards program) can ask you, at any time, to forget everything you know about them. Forever.

On receiving a right to be forgotten request, a hotel must then take all steps necessary to remove all customer data they are holding. While there are some exceptions, such as if the data if the data is needed for a legal claim, most of the right to be forgotten requests a start-up receives will have to be actioned.

What does it mean for Australian hoteliers?

On the face of it, a person requesting that your accommodation business deletes all of their personal data may seem like a simple request— just delete a record when asked. However, the reality is very different. In many hotel groups data is not always held in one system so ‘removing that record’ swiftly becomes ‘removing multiple records’, especially for hotel groups with multiple properties around the country and different systems. To complicate this further, the process itself could be initiated through a range of channels such as website, direct email or mobile application. Regardless of where the request comes from, it’s important that the process remains the same across the business.

When your hotel is looking to build its own ‘right to be forgotten’ process, you need to consider four specific items: The mechanisms that the customer can interact with to initiate the process; the mechanisms for removing the customer’s data; the audit trail; and the reporting mechanism to the customer (e.g. email notifications of the deletion process).

Further complicating matters is the fact that Australian hoteliers often work with outside agencies to help market their properties and services to existing and potential guests. In these instances, customer data may not only be in multiple systems and locations within a business, but data may be held by other external organisations as well.

To ensure that you know exactly where customer data is when working with third parties, it is important that all hotels follow proper process. The process starts with identifying the systems and channels that the external partner is working with for you, such as marketing software. Hotels should also be able to understand who is gathering guest data, at what point, for what purpose and where it is stored so that any gaps can be identified and resolved.

Meeting the challenge

In an interconnected world where every online interaction is collected, recorded, analysed, and companies often know more about people than they know about themselves; governments are developing regulations that restrict how, when and where all businesses collect data. Ensuring that your hotel has the right processes in place to assist customer requests around their data, including the right to be forgotten, is a challenge all local accommodation businesses must address.

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5 Web Content Management Trends for 2018

December 21, 2017

By Venus Tamturk

GDPR Capabilities Will Help Non-Compliant Companies

In my opinion, after a headless CMS approach, one of the hottest topics that have generated so many discussions was the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect. As we are getting closer to the European GDPR deadline of May 25, 2018, vendors are releasing new capabilities to help non-compliant companies be ready. A breach of the GDPR can result in fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover (whichever is greater). That being said, Gartner predicts that by the end of 2018, more than 50 percent of companies affected by the GDPR will not be in full compliance with its requirements.

When it comes to American companies, collecting an IP address of an EU resident, which is not even considered as personally identifying information in the US., will be enough to trigger the GDPR. As WCM vendors admit that they should share the responsibility of educating their customers on GDPR compliance, this year, we have seen almost every vendor adding baked-in GDPR capabilities to their platforms. Here are some of them that WCM platforms should provide in 2018 before the regulation goes into effect:

Personal data flow documentation

Consent management

Access all the data processed about a specific data subject

An ability to export personal data in commonly used, structured, and machine-readable format

An ability to delete collected personal data

Kentico, for instance, is one the vendors which have recently rolled out a number of capabilities that will help businesses comply with the EU’s upcoming GDPR. Karol Jarkovsky, Director of Product at Kentico, told in a CMS-Connected interview: “What we see as our role as a CMS vendor is to basically help organizations with their efforts to comply with the GDPR, there is never going to be a magic button that you can press and that’s it but as a vendor we can help those businesses fulfill the rights of the data subjects, to help businesses prove to authorities that they took all the necessary steps to comply with the GDPR.”

Read the full article

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The GDPR Will Fundamentally Change Marketing

December 11, 2017

By Jim Panagas

Make no mistake about it: the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming to the business world — including the North American business world — in May 2018. 

Heralded by the European Union as the most important change in data privacy legislation in 20 years, the GDPR has the potential to fundamentally change the way your company acquires and stores information on prospects and customers. It’s also going to affect your company’s business practices and technology stack: everything from customer relationship management (CRM) tools and content management systems (CMS) all the way to marketing automation systems. And if you have just one resident of Europe in your customer base, there’s no way around it. 

It has been hard to avoid discussions of the GDPR in the past several months. Numerous news stories, seminars, webinars and other presentations have flooded the business world. 

So how do we get past the headlines and determine what this new legislation really means, and what your business has to do to prepare for it? We recently sat down with Tim Walters, principal strategist and privacy lead at consulting firm The Content Advisory, to discuss the GDPR and its ramifications for business. We caught up with him at a GDPR informational seminar being held in London.

Marketing and IT Professionals, Take Heed

Laura Myers: My impression is that most of the people doing the listening when it comes to the GDPR legislation are technical people — data security and data governance professionals — but not so much marketing people. Yet this latter group of people should be listening perhaps more than anyone else, correct?

Tim Walters: It’s not emphasized often enough that marketers need to be very, very aware of what’s going on here .... If the technical people are not even talking to the marketers about this legislation, then they aren’t beginning to understand what the impact is going to be on the firms and what level of effort — that is, what level of budget and resources — is going to be necessary to address it. So marketers need to wake up to the fact that the GDPR significantly disrupts the way they thought about doing business because we’ve finally become somewhat successful at using personal data to inform and fuel digital marketing practices. So that obviously is going to have some kind of braking effect, slowing down some of the momentum of digital marketing efforts. 

Delivering Privacy and Data Protection by Design

Myers: It sounds like privacy and data protection are two of the guiding principles of the GDPR.

Walters: The GDPR insists that privacy and data protection be baked in from the outset. So it has to be from the very first thought about how you’re going to conceive of a process, whether it’s a technical or business process, what the aims of it are going to be. You should also, from the very first moment, think about how it affects privacy, how it impacts data protection, and how you can minimize and alleviate those risks in the design process. And very importantly, you need to document that you’ve done it. So if somebody comes to you and asks, “Did you practice data protection by design when you created this particular process?” the answer cannot be simply “yes.” It has to be, “Yes, and here’s the documentation to prove that we did so.” 

Putting People in Control of Their Own Personal Data

Myers: I know that you view the GDPR as a double-edged sword in that it sets some new rules for marketing with punitive fines attached but, at the same time, you see it as bringing some much-needed change to the industry. 

Walters: What I think of as the core principle of the GDPR … is that people should be in control of their own personal data. And imagine what happens, how marketing is transformed, if marketers take that proposition seriously and really embrace it and ensure that their marketing practices reflect respect for peoples’ personal data and the fact that they ought to remain in control of their personal data. 

Yes, that’s going to disrupt a lot of our current marketing practices that treat personal data with, to put it mildly, a cavalier attitude. But once you do figure out how to institute those processes — again, by data protection by design and other strategies — then you are in a position to create genuinely trust-based relationships with customers and prospects.

Engaging People Rather Than Pushing Them Through a Sales Funnel

Myers: I don’t know anyone who likes aggressive sales tactics and enjoys being 'pushed through the sales funnel.' It seems that the GDPR turns this reality on its head, encouraging companies to engage with people rather than trying to simply sell them. Is that accurate?

Walters: That fundamentally transforms the way in which marketers can begin to think about their jobs. Rather than feeding the top of the [sales] funnel by whatever means necessary with whatever leads you can possibly find, it creates something that is much more like a consistent kind of exchange between engaged consumers and buyers.

So now you’re not trying to entice people, to push them and move them reluctantly to the next stage of the sales funnel or something like that. But you are engaged with people who from the outset have made a conscious decision to be engaged with you. They’ve said, 'Yes, I’m going to give you consent to use my personal data because you’ve convinced me, or I’m at least hoping that you will carry out your promises to benefit me by the use of my personal data.' So you can begin to get into exchanges where there is a mutual benefit.

Powering a ‘Personal Data Economy’

Panagas: Despite all of the fear and apprehension that’s building out there, you firmly believe that the GDPR is ultimately going to have a positive influence on business, correct?

Walters: It’s sometimes hard to believe, especially for Americans, that the EU regulators, these bureaucrats, really think that they are doing something that is business-positive and actually is going to promote business activity. But [the regulators] genuinely do believe it. Because they want to encourage innovation in the so-called personal-data economy. They want companies to be able to use personal data, but they want to and have to — according to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights — ensure that that personal data is used in a way that respects the privacy and data protection rights of the EU residents.

Now Is the Time to Start Preparing

The GDPR is a significant piece of legislation that is going to affect the marketing practices of all companies doing business in Europe or selling to Europe. But the good news is that we know when it’s coming and, increasingly, we know what it means. So as businesses are making their 2018 digital marketing plans and determining their associated IT and marketing budgets, now is the time to fully consider the implications of the GDPR and plan accordingly. 

Review your technology stack and make sure your CRM, CMS and marketing automation systems are GDPR-friendly and up to the task. Make sure that both the IT and marketing sides of the house are planning for the GDPR, and that they’re talking to each another. Engage a technology partner or consultant who’s intimately familiar with the GDPR. And finally, consult with members of your legal team for their point of view. 

Doing all this homework now will ensure that you’re in full compliance when the GDPR goes into effect in May 2018.

About the Author

Jim Panagas is the Director of PR & Analyst Relations for Kentico Software, a leading provider of CMS technology. He’s a seasoned marketing and communications professional who has been working in the high tech industry for more than 20 years.

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